Big Sean Talks "My Last" with Chris Brown, His Favorite "Star Wars" Movie, Benihana, "Finally Famous" and More
Mon, 07 Mar 2011 07:16:51
"There's something on there for everybody," says Big Sean of his forthcoming album, Finally Famous.
If his sexy, slick, and smooth single with Chris Brown "My Last" is any indication, Big Sean isn't kidding. The song bounces from a hypnotic piano melody and hook courtesy of Brown into Big Sean's focused, flavorful, and fiery flow. He's got a style that's as elegant as Kanye West's, but there's a little gusto reminiscent 2pac and The Notorious B.I.G. in there as well. That's what makes Big Sean such a vibrant young force in modern hip hop and why Finally Famous will be remembered as a crucial debut.
Signed to GOOD Music and Def Jam, he's got quite the musical kindred spirit in Kanye West. Big Sean goes on, "Kanye West is one of my great mentors in the game. He's taught me a lot. He goes harder than anybody I've ever known period."
Big Sean's going hard to it, and you can hear it on "My Last" right now.
Big Sean sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about "My Last" with Chris Brown, why Benihana rules, what's in store on Finally Famous, his favorite Star Wars and so much more.
Was it important for you to tell a story with "My Last?" What does the song mean to you? To me, the song is definitely something quality. It's not meant to be taken too seriously or lightly, but it does have an underlying message of, "I'm partying like it's my last, but I work so hard to party like it is." Even in the first verse, I say, "I grind hard and got a lot to show for it." I'm always trying to keep it relatable to people as opposed to just a regular party song. It means a lot to me. I feel like I am telling a story in a sense, even by saying that I'm just doing better than what everybody projected. That's real. That song is dedicated to anybody whoever does really feel like that—people who are about to go party like it's their last, smoking like it's their last, having sex like it's their last, or whatever they're doing. I feel like it's a really big anthem and it has a lot of soul. One of the things I like about it is that it doesn't really follow any trends that are on the radio right now.
Is that theme of hustling to achieve your goals pervasive on the album?
Yeah, that's something that the whole album really entails. It embodies a story of a person realizing what he wants to do and his dreams and starting to live them out. Along the way, it tells a story of falling in and out of love, going through domestic love, partying, being young, and really finding oneself. That's the whole message behind the album, Finally Famous. I'm really excited, and I think a lot of people are going to relate to it. You can do everything to it—ride to it, smoke to it, have sex to it, cry to it, or vibe to it.
That Benihana mention in "My Last" definitely adds another dimension to the track. What are some of your favorite Asian spots?
[Laughs] It's one of my favorite restaurants. You can catch me in there once in awhile. I like P.F. Chang's. There's this one Thai restaurant in Michigan that's so good. I know where it's at, but I never really paid attention to the name.
Did you have one complete vision for Finally Famous?
It's definitely cohesive. I feel like I've been done with my album three times, but I learned a lot throughout the process. I signed way back in 2008 to GOOD Music and Def Jam. Through experience, I learned that you have to build your own movement, draw your own following, and get your weight up as an artist for people to pay attention to you. That was something I learned on my own. I would just put out a lot of the songs I was going to use for my album on mixtapes because I realized people are still going to hear them, maybe not as many people, but at least it's going to get some interest and start a fan base. My theory was if my following gets big enough everybody is going to have to focus on me. The underlying message never changes. It still tells a story of someone recognizing his dream and starting to live that out. People can relate to it in every single way.
What encourages you to tell stories?
I love movies! I'm a heavy moviegoer. I usually work on music by myself, and a lot of times I throw a movie on as part of the atmosphere. I love going to movies. I feel like they're a way of escaping from reality from an hour and a half or two. No matter what you've got going on, you tend to forget about it for an hour. Then there's just living life and going through stuff. I've seen a lot of my friends turn on me. I saw one of my best friends get addicted to drugs. I've seen people die. People go through a lot of shit. I've been through a lot, and it really has inspired me and brought out the best in me.
If Finally Famous were a movie or a combination of movies what would you compare it to?
It would be like The Pursuit of Happyness mixed with The Hangover, Friday, (500) Days of Summer, The Notebook—but not as a sappy, just a great story—and Star Wars [Laughs].
What's your favorite Star Wars movie?
My personal favorite was Return of the Jedi. I really love it! It brought the whole thing together.
Everybody always says the first film or The Empire Strikes Back.
Empire was good though. I can see why people would say that because it was so good. To me, Return of the Jedi was dope as hell. I also liked the most recent Star Wars film that came out where Anakin turned into Darth Vader.
Are there any collaboration you're particularly thrilled about on Finally Famous?
I was really stoked to work with Pharrell Williams and have him on the record. I'm definitely stoked to have Kanye West. He's a legend to me, and he's one of the number one people I look up to, period. I'm really happy to have Mike Posner on there. We're just homies. I'm excited that Chris Brown is on there. It's all a part of history.
Have you heard "My Last" yet? What do you think?